Saturday, March 27, 2010

Andrew Will Winemaker's Dinner - Purple Cafe & Wine Bar - Seattle

I have always wanted to try out a winemaker's dinner and what better than to try one of the various events that Purple Cafe & Wine Bar (@heavyrestaurant) hosts. Purple has had a few of these dinners recently and they always look amazing. At Purple Seattle, there is a beautiful back room behind the bar area with windows all around and a beautiful wood table that can sit the entire group in attendance. The dinner on this night was for Andrew Will Winery (@andrewwill), a winery located on Vashon Island. I had never had a chance to try Andrew Will wines before so I was even more excited about the dinner.

We (I attended along with @jenkmiller) arrived and were immediately handed a yummy glass of prosecco. We took our seats at one end of the big table and got to chatting with all the great people in attendance at the dinner. It was so great to learn about the winery and how it got started. Their grapes are grown in eastern WA, and while they don't currently have a tasting room on Vashon Island, there was talk that one may open up sometime in the future near their vineyards.

The meal started with Gorgonzola stuffed dates which were simply amazing. They were topped with pine nuts and the perfect start to the meal. We moved from there to a dungeness crab salad with avocado. This was paired with Andrew Will's 2008 Cuvee Lucia Pinot Gris. This was a light refreshing wine that was an excellent match for the crab and avocado combination. This was a great spring and summer wine that would likely pair well with any type of salad or BBQ fare.

Next we moved on to a seared Alaskan halibut fillet served with a tomato-fennel sauce. This paired nicely with Andrew Will's 2007 Cuvee Lucia Sangiovese, a red mountain wine. Growing up in Alaska, I have had a lot of halibut cooked in various different ways. The cut and preparation of the fish by Purple at this dinner was incredible. It was perfectly flaky to the fork and so amazing with the sauce. The sangiovese was by far one of my favorites of the evening. I need to go find a bottle of this to add to my collection and enjoy it with some of the halibut from my freezer! It was such an amazing pairing I look forward to trying again.

Our "intermezzo" of the evening came with a small bite of papaya sorbet along with a shot of potato vodka. This was to cleanse the pallet before moving on to our next course. It definitely did the trick and my mouth was free of all of the other wines we had already tasted. It was a great way to ready myself for our next amazing course.

Our next course was roasted mustard-herb crusted lamb tenderloin served with asparagus. This course was paired along with Andrew Will's 2007 Two Blonds Vineyard blend from the Yakima Valley. This wine was a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, and 7% Malbec. The combination of the tenderness of the lamb and the softness of the wine was such a treat.

Our dessert of a Delice cheese and chocolate paired with Andrew Will's 2007 Champoux blend from Horse Heaven Hills was the perfect finish to this amazing meal. This blend is 19% Cab Sauv, 52% Cab Franc, 21% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot. The large percentage of Cab Franc in this wine really stood out in an amazing way. I had never had the variety of cheese served with this and I must say I have a new favorite!

At the end of the meal I was full but not overly, as the portions served with the meal were absolutely perfect. It was interesting to learn about how the chef creates the food pairings to work with the wine, not the other way around. Both the food prepared by the chef at Purple and the Andrew Will wines tasted were so fantastic and I can now say I'm hooked to the concept of food and wine pairings. I will be in attendance at more winemaker's dinners in the future for sure.

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